Reels is one of Instagram’s biggest innovations for this year. Faced with the rise of TikTok and its endless possibilities for creating videos, montages and sequences, the owners of the world’s most popular photo social network decided to, in response, launch Reels which allows users to create fun short films combining music, text, photos and video.

The main step to reach a good audience with Reels is to get to know all the features it has to offer. Using the most of its features will allow you to compete with other users in the race for virality and, in a way, please Instagram’s algorithm to make your content stand out from the rest.

THE LENGTH OF YOUR REELS MATTERS TO BE MORE CREATIVE

Keep in mind that a Reel is a short video. As in TikTok, the maximum length is just one minute, specifically, in the case of Instagram, you have the option between 15 or 60 seconds.

This apparent limitation has turned out to be an advantage. Thanks to the time limit set on Reels, users have to be more creative when giving any kind of message through Reels.

To change the maximum length of a Reel, do the following:

  1. Go to the Reel creation area.

  2. Locate a circular icon with a number inside. It is located on the left side of the screen.

  3. Click on it. With each click you will see its value change from 15 to 30 or 60, and from 60 to 30 or 15, indicating the total length of the Reel.

FOLLOW MUSIC TRENDS (OR CREATE YOUR OWN AUDIOS)

Reels need a soundtrack. If this format was designed to compete with TikTok, a social network especially focused on music and dance, it is logical that Instagram also has a song selector. As usual, thanks to music you have more chances to connect with your audience and, therefore, enjoy greater virality.

Add your music as follows:

  1. In the Reels creation area, tap on the icon represented by the musical note.

  2. Type in the text field the song you want to add as a soundtrack.

  3. Choose the fragment you want and click on Done.

HIGHLIGHTS WITH FAST AND SLOW MOTION

With the option of recording by short fragments, Instagram allows you to combine videos recorded in fast motion with others that have been captured in slow motion. Fortunately, this option is available even if your device doesn’t natively support slow or fast motion.

HOW TO CHANGE THE RECORDING SPEED OF A VIDEO REEL

You can open the recording speed selector by clicking on the middle button in the right-hand side menu, then just choose your preferred recording speed. Taking the value 1X as a reference, all those speeds with a dot in front, .3X or .5X, correspond to slow motion. On the other hand, values higher than 1X, 2X or 3X, correspond to fast motion.

CATCHES THE ATTENTION OF OTHERS WITH THE MOST AMAZING EFFECTS

The effects available in Reels try to match the full variety offered by TikTok. Clearly, it must be an arduous task for Instagram developers to try to catch up with the Chinese social network in this aspect, as the range of effects offered by it is overwhelming.

EFFECTS IN REELS

Reels effects are available by tapping on the smiley face icon, located in the left options menu; there are many hidden functionalities in the filters that, only with practice and time, it is possible to discover. It should be noted that many of them are more like classic filters than real special effects.

TAKE BETTER SHOTS WITH THE TIMER

The timer function will be very useful, especially if you are shooting in absolute solitude. This tool allows you to program the start of the capture and, thus, take the right position or place in front of the camera.

It is recommended to use this feature, especially when performing some challenges or choreographies.

How to add a timer to Reels?

  1. Go to the recording section and tap on the timer icon.

  2. Slide over the timeline to set a recording limit and use the “Countdown” button to activate the timer. You can choose between 3 and 10 seconds.

  3. To confirm, tap on the “Set Timer”

  4. If you actually want to reset this option, use the “Reset Timer” button below.

CREATE MORE COMPLETE VIDEOS WITH THE MATERIAL IN YOUR LIBRARY

To create a Reel you don’t need to record at a specific time, rather, you can use videos that have been captured previously. This allows you to add external assets to your creations, use your own footage stored on your device or take full advantage of your device’s camera using the manufacturer’s camera app.

HOW TO ADD A VIDEO TO MY REEL

Selecting a clip from your phone’s local storage is very easy, all you need to do is tap on the button in the bottom left corner of the screen, represented by a photo icon and the “+” symbol or swipe up. An explorer will open and display all the compatible media files, ready to be added.

GO VIRAL BY TAKING CARE OF ALL THE DETAILS

So far, we have talked about interesting options you have before and during recording, but what about post-editing? Well, Instagram allows you to retouch your creations after finishing the recording.

Post-editing in reels

Here’s a few other things you can do to improve the virality of your Reel after you’ve recorded it:

Add tags: You have available all the tags that are already used in Instagram Stories. Many of them will allow you to improve the virality of your Reel, for example, add a location, a hashtag, questions, polls or even music. If your Reel is a challenge, you can nominate others with the Challenge tag.

Save your Reel to the phone memory: Ideal for backup or sharing via other apps.

Add text: After creating your Reel you can display phrases or floating words.

Add freehand drawings: You can draw something funny/cute over your reel.

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